Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Amazing Orchids in July

The wet field at my neighbors house had three Purple Fringeless Orchids last year. This year there are at least a 100. Below are many photos which speak for their selves how amazing these flowers are. I also found a  white one.


Meet the Ghost

Sunday, July 27, 2014

State Parks, Orchids and Wildflowers

After spending most of a week in Florida, I spent several days in Charleston, West Virginia at a conference. As usual, when the conference ended for the day, I was out the door headed somewhere to hike.This time it was at two parks, mostly within Charlestons urban sprawl. At Little Creek Park, a mostly sports complex, I hiked into the Trace Fork Canyon.

At one point, I ran into Hoary Mountain Mint, an interesting wildflower that I had only previously seen in the Smokey Mountains . I had not really thought about it being in West Virginia, but now realize that it has a pretty wide range.
#328 - Hoary Mountain Mint

I also saw a large population of Rose Pink

 The other park that I visited was the Kanawha State Forest.

 There I stumbled on a small group of  Crane Fly Orchid in bloom, or rather partially in bloom. These two plants were side by side, with one in full bloom and the other plant had no open flowers. 

#329 - American Bell Flower

I also found another new
West Virginia wildflower for me.
The American Bell Flower

Below are other flowers seen over the two days, will add ID's later

#330 -  Whorled Milkwort

#331 - Flowering Spurge 

This Spurge has green flowers surrounded by white petal-like bracts.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Summer Wildflowers

Found a wildflower today that has reappeared after a couple years absent in the field behind my home.
This Canada Lilly was covered with the vines of a native Clematis and needed some help to emerge for photos.

#327 -  Canada Lily 

Last week, I spent some time hiking in the area and ran into a couple of bears, West Virginians state animal. I also photographed Rhododendron, the state flower, saw a Cardinal, state bird,  and saw my Honey Bees which are the state insect. If I had saw a Sugar Maple, Timber Rattlesnake, Monarch Butterfly, Brook Trout and a Golden Delicious Apple,  I would have just about exhausted all of the West Virginians state representatives. 

You can see one bear (below center) headed for higher ground after I stumbled on him grazing in tall grass. The other ran through the Rhododendrons and would have been a great picture had I been quick enough.

The last few pictures will be clues to guess where I was on a business trip this past week. Every trip I go on, I make time to roam and hike.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

July and More Twayblades

I decided to try a remote area of nearby Mercer county to see if the Appalachin Twyblade was there. Several miles down a rough gas well access road, I went into a likely Rhodendron thicket and immediatly found Twayblades. It seems that this plant is very common in this area even though it was not reported here previously. I only had an iPhone to take pictures but did get some interesting shots of other wild flowers.
                                                                   Appalachian Twayblades


 In a small clearing in the middle of the Rhododendron hell, I found these trillium. Maybe the largest I've seen. I hope to be back there next spring to see these beauties in bloom.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Appalachian Twayblade

On July 5, I revisited this area and found another color variation that I have added pictures of at the end of this post

Today was another great day. After reading these two great blogs from Jim Fowler:
Native Orchids at Mt. Mitchell State Park and along the Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina  2014-06-25
Looking for orchids and wildflowers in the Foothills and Mountains of the Carolinas  — 2014-06-07
#326 - Appalachian Twayblade

I decided to spend the evening crashing around in a West Virginia Rhododendron hell. Click on the link to learn a little more about these 'hells' but suffice it to say that the name is well earned. Jim Fowler observed in his posts that he thinks that Appalachian Twayblade is much more common than many believe. Even though it is not reported in Raleigh County, West Virginia, I knew some prime examples of where he suggests it may be found.  

So, off to a logging road a couple miles from home that is an experience itself. I parked and walked down a hill and entered the 'hell'. 

This picture to the right is from above; below this is a creek and where I was crawling, falling, stumbling and searching for twayblades. Not long after entering, I stumbled on my first ever Appalachian Twayblade, also know as Kidney Leaved Twayblade. Photographing it is a challenge in the gloom and having rained the night before, everything was dripping and muddy. In fact, when I arrived home, scratched, muddy and wet , I tried to blame it on Jim Fowler. Didn't help......

After crawling over and under these Rhododendron, I found two more small populations of Twayblade.
One still had closed buds. 

In the dead center of the picture on the left is the first Twayblade I found and shows how it is hid by the Rhododendron 

This is my second new Orchid this week. 
I am enjoying June.
 Thanks Again Jim Fowler.
 More pictures below

I revisited this area on July 5, eight days after originally finding the Twayblades. I earlier checked two other parts of Raleigh County where I thought I may find the right conditions with no luck. 
Today, I found plants that were much lighter and greener than those from before. One thing that I noticed is that the largrer plants were in spots where a little more direct sunlight was able to hit the ground. But, I also found an area deep in the Rhododendron, that was a small clearing (10 square feet). It had Trillium plants but the Twayblade shunned the more open area.  
Below are the greener plants


There were many baby Twayblades

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Loving Summer

I havn't been able to get out much in the last two weeks and missed going this year to the Showy Lady Slipper population that I love so much. So I had a couple hours on the first day of Summer to go to one of my favorite wildflower areas. I had no real plan or agenda, but did hope to find some Putty Root Orchids in bloom that I spotted early in the Spring. While scanning the area where I saw them, I unexpectedly found an Orchid that I have never seen anywhere. The Large Twayblade, also known as Purple Twayblade or Lily-leaved Twayblade (Liparis liliifolia). It is not an uncommon plant, but sites for it in WV have been described as sparse and local. I was so thrilled to see this plant that I went back the next day. I am going to post many pictures here of this fascinating plant. Here is a great description of Lily-leaved Twayblade
#324 -  Lily-leaved Twayblade

While hiking in and around Brushcreek Nature Preserve, I ran across the following plants and sights.
 New Jersey Tea is new for me and a great looking plant. I wish I had known it was a tea substitute, I would have brought some home and tried it. It was used in colonial America and leaves are gathered while the plant is in bloom 

New Jersey Tea
Rhododendron, West Virginia State Flower

Striped Wintergreen
Balanced Rock withTree